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Hidden Lakes

Backcountry Response Team

Sat Jun 10, 2023 8:30 AM — Wed Jun 14, 2023 3:30 PM

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North Cascades — Pasayten

Features: Earn Northwest Forest Pass

Crew Leader: Alan Carter Mortimer

Sunset from Lucky Jim Pass. Rachel Wendling


Join us for 5 days in the beautiful upper Methow Valley. We are going to be spending several days repairing tread and drainage, along with other trail maintenance needs, working towards Hidden Lakes deep in the Pasayten Wilderness.

About the Area

The Hidden Lakes are the jewels of the Pasayten Wilderness. As the name suggests, the lakes are tucked away deep in the Wilderness and offer hikers the opportunity to fish, swim, and relax after the taxing hike up. A series of four named lakes, Cougar Lake, First Hidden Lake, Middle Hidden Lake, and Big Hidden Lake are a popular destination for backpackers in the summer. There is a cabin nestled in the trees near First Hidden Lake.

Throughout the hike, wildflowers are abundant in the summer. You will walk through recently burned forest and might happen upon deer, elk, grouse, rabbits, and chipmunks. This hike is an excellent options for hikers looking for a longer backpack with plenty of opportunity to try new things and explore new places.

What to Expect

We'll have fun, work hard and make a difference!

Project Description

The Hidden Lakes trail has been severely impacted by wildfire over the last few decades, including the Middle Quartz Mountain fire in 2002, the Tatoosh Complex fire in 2006, and the recent Diamond Creek fire in 2017. The remote nature of the trail has made it difficult to maintain. The crew will hike into camp at Drake Creek/Lucky Jim Pass and repair tread, improve drainage, brushing and other maintenance tasks along the Hidden Lakes Trail.

The priority work areas will be repairing tread at Eightmile Pass and Lucky Jim Pass.

Camping and Hiking Information

  • Type: Backcountry basecamp
  • Location: Drake Creek or Lucky Jim Pass
  • Weather: Be prepared for variable conditions including heat, cold, wind and rain
  • Initial hike to camp: Either Drake Creek, 4 miles and 800' gain and then 800' loss or Lucky Jim Pass, 5.5 miles and 2000' total gain, at a moderate pace while carrying your backpack fully loaded with all provisions including camping gear and food, plus WTA-provided tools.
  •  Expected daily hike: Up to 4 miles roundtrip with up to 1000 feet of elevation gain at a moderate pace while carrying your daypack plus tools.


  • Day 1: Meet the crew rain or shine, then hike in, begin work on the project and set up camp
  • Day 2+: Make breakfast and pack a lunch before heading out on trail with the crew by 8:00 AM. Work at your own pace, take plenty of breaks and enjoy lunch on the trail. Arrive back in camp by 4:00 or 5:00 PM for a relaxing evening. Prepare your own dinner and swap stories with the crew.
  • Final Day: Break down camp, finish trail project, hike out and say goodbye to the crew at the trailhead

For safety reasons, arriving late or leaving early is not allowed

Planning Information

Get ready for a challenging backcountry adventure!

What it Takes to Do This Work Party

  • A great attitude for working with a team! WTA provides the training and tools you need for the project
  • Backpacking gear and food for multiple nights on the trail
  • Good physical condition to hike with a fully-loaded backpack and be physically active for about 8-9 hours daily on uneven terrain 
  • Backpacking experience including ability to run your own camp following Leave No Trace principles
  • Day work party experience recommended
  • Flexibility to adapt to changes due to unpredictable weather or land manager requests
  • Minimum age: 18

What to Bring

  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended (glasses, sunglasses or safety glasses)
  • Backpacking gear:
  • Backpack to carry all of your gear
  • Tent, sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Cooking gear and enough food (plus a little extra) for the entire trip
  • At least two 1-liter water bottles and a way to purify your water
  • Rain jacket and rain pants
  • Extra warm clothing
  • Camp clothing such as shorts, shirt and sandals
  • Sun and bug protection
  • Headlamp and extra batteries
  • Personal items such as medication, hand sanitizer and toiletries
  • ​First aid kit
  • A sense of fun and adventure for learning new skills and meeting great people!
  • Trail work gear:
  • Boots
  • Long pants 
  • Work gloves
  • Long-sleeved shirt recommended
  • Eye protection recommended such as safety glasses
  • WTA hard hat (provided, unless you have one)

For safety reasons, shorts and sneakers are not allowed while working. Firearms and weapons are not allowed.

More Information

From the Hiking Guide

See what WTA's hiking guide and trip reports say about this area.

A My Backpack account is required. You will be asked to register or log in before you can join.

Join Work Party



From Winthrop travel north on Okanogan County Road 1213 (West Chewuch Road) for 9 miles. Turn left on to the Forest Service Road 5130 (Eightmile Creek Road) and follow the signs for 17 miles to the Billy Goat Trailhead. You’ll come to the horse parking lot first, last vault toilet. Continue following the road, which becomes steeper and narrower for the final mile to the hiker parking lot.

Note: Please follow the written directions above instead of using a GPS device. This will ensure that you get to the correct meeting location for this work party. The location of the pinpoint below is only approximate.

Getting to WTA work parties can involve travel on rough, unpaved roads in areas without cellular service and without street addresses that can be accurately used by navigation devices. Unless specifically noted otherwise, routes can generally be traveled by all types of vehicles. Volunteers with limited experience driving on unpaved mountain roads may want to allow extra time, beyond what is recommended in the directions above, to get to the meeting location.

Required Documentation

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Find a ride, give a ride with people who also want to carpool.